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Missing South African lions still at large, helicopters join search

Missing South African lions still at large, helicopters join search

South Africa

Four lions that escaped South Africa’s Kruger National Park last Sunday are still on the loose as the South African park authorities have dispatched helicopters to aid in their search.

The lions were last spotted on Tuesday in the Crocodile River gorge area, local media News24 reported.

“The lions are currently believed to be in very rocky, mountainous and thickly wooded uninhabited areas south of the Crocodile gorge, and the MTPA have very experienced staff dealing with the situation, and together with SANParks every effort will be made to locate and capture them,” Dr Markus Hofmeyr of the South Africa National Parks (SANParks) told the media.

The search comes on the heels of a strike action by the parks authorities who are demanding better wages.

This is the second time lions have escaped from the main tourist attraction site in the Mpumalanga province.

Five lions escaped in May and then captured days after near the border with Swaziland.

The lions broke free from the park which is close to Komatipoort, a community of about 5,000 people.

In 2015, a lion named Sylvester crawled under an electric fence at another park and went on a three-week sheep-killing spree before he was found by rangers taking a nap.

The cat was earlier this year released back into wild from a 200-hectare holding enclosure.

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency has called on residents around the park to be vigilant and treat the animals as dangerous.

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